Government Guidance to LABC’s
What LABC should do
On 21st April Central Government issued guidance to LABC for all building work being carried out during the COVID-19 outbreak. Building Control Bodies should, where possible, check regularly with those carrying out work including its current status and any plans to continue work.
Continue to Assess
Building Control Bodies should also continue to assess deposited plans on their merits and ensure that the statutory requirements to consult with fire and rescue authorities and sewage undertakers continue to be met.
Early engagement with both authorities is recommended during the COVID-19 outbreak including in relation to the format of relevant plans.
Keep Calm & Carry On
Building Control Bodies should continue to undertake normal, regular on-site inspection activity where this can be done safely, in line with Public Health England guidance. Building Control Bodies may wish to consider the use of alternative methods of checking compliance to supplement physical inspections, for example using digital photographs and video or other remote means of checking compliance.
Building Control Bodies should satisfy themselves within the limits of their professional skill and care that these remote inspections are used appropriately. Remote inspections should not normally be used as the sole method of assessing compliance.
Building owners may wish to occupy part of a building even if work on the rest of the building has stopped. In these cases, Building Control Bodies can issue a part final or completion certificate for that part of the building.
Regulation 17(7) of the Building Regulations (Approved Inspectors e.t.c) 2010 allows a local authority to extend initial notices any of the prescribed time periods in Regulation 17, either before or after the expiry of the period. Local authorities should take a flexible and pragmatic approach when receiving these applications and consider resource impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak.
Where a part final or completion certificate has been issued, this should accurately record and describe the part of the building(s) or work(s) which has been issued a certificate. Building control bodies should monitor buildings which are occupied with a part final or completion certificate and should follow up at a later date to work with the building owner to obtain a final or completion certificate for the remaining work.
Building Control Bodies should ensure that they maintain a record that the person carrying out the works has passed key fire safety information to the responsible person when issuing either a full/partial final or completion certificate, in accordance with Regulation 38 of the Building Regulations 2010.
Where local authorities are aware that work has been, or is intended to be, halted, they should be ready to provide advice on ensuring that this is done such as to leave the building in a safe state.
The Construction Leadership Council has published an updated version 3 of its site operating procedures. This guidance is intended to introduce consistent measures on construction sites of all types and sizes in line with the government’s recommendations on social distancing and ensure employers and individuals make every effort to comply.
The remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding remains a priority for government. Remediation work should continue where it is safe to do so in accordance with guidance to minimise the risk of spreading infection. For more information, please see the remediation guidance page.
We expect Building Control Bodies to continue supporting the progress of remediation where appropriate.
For the most up to date information for businesses operating during the COVID-19 outbreak, please see the business support pages.
Enquiries: all e-mail enquiries relating to this guidance should be sent to [email protected].
Big -v Small – the need for partnering
As LABC Partners we welcome this guidance and are pleased to share it with all our clients and associates, - old, new and future. ‘Partnering’ closely with all stakeholders is essential. By integrating the IoT (Internet of Things) into our thoughts, designs and processes we can help architects and developers streamline their planning application procedures and deliver projects quickly & efficiently.
Partnering Profits People
We’ve spent years getting good at what we do. creating them to satisfy all types of design, so can help you, your buyers or tenants, adapting our business innovations and developments to your projects . This really means engaging with your whole team to deliver on time and within budget. It requires a systematic, solution driven approach which brings discipline to the process, sharing information and communications. Applying DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) defines the process of taking these to the next level; a welcome change in the overall approach to project management and development – and to those who just ‘talk about it’!
Partnering for Progress
All of this entails a shift in thinking to that already practiced by established ‘Off-Site’ MMC manufacturers. It can be quickly and easily incorporated into procedures and processes of building and development. Better still, you can make partnering arrangements with such manufacturers to gain all round benefits.
Greater Speed, Accuracy, Quality and Lower Costs
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers will deliver these. The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as ‘OffSite Hub” note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something we have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results. This virtually provides any housebuilder or architect with their own bespoke design factory facility.